Wine, how it’s made

Wine is actually grape juice that has been yeasted. This is the only similarity between all types of wine in the world. The basis of every wine is the grape. However, every grape has its own climate preference, need for different types of soil and even have different times to be harvested.

The ingredients

Four things are needed to produce wine; soil, sun, grapes and vinification (the process of wine making). The quality of the ground is of the utmost importance for the success of wine, however, not in a way that is expected. The best soil for wine to thrive in is a dry soil. The sun is the most unpredictable out of the four factors. Every year it remains to be seen how much sun will shine. To little sunshine or too much sunshine, either way could be disastrous for the growth of the grape.

The sun ensures that the sugar in the grape is developed properly. A little bit of rain is not harmful. However, when the weather is very wet and damp, it is possible that the development of plant diseases can ruin the grapes. On the other hand if the sun shines to bright, it could singe and burn the grapes with the result that the flavour of a wine would sour.

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The process

The method of producing wine is fairly simple. For red wine, the grapes are harvested, brought to the winery where they are destemmed and being stripped of impurities and after this process the grapes are placed in a tank with yeast to ferment. After fermentation, the grape skins are separated from the young wine.

The biggest difference when it comes to producing white wine is that grape juice is immediately separated from the grape skins when its pressed for the first time. After a short period of time a white wine will start to ferment.

To raise the percentage of alcohol during the fermentation phase, sugar can be added. Carbon dioxide is released during fermentation which causes the grape skins to rise to the surface. Winemakers will pump over the “cap” to keep the skins in contact with the juice/wine.

After the fermentation phase is complete, racking is done to clarify the wine. Afterwards the wine (red & white) will spend several months aging in barrels. White wine only needs a couple of months to age and be ready to be bottled. When it comes to red wines, aging will take up to 18 to 24 months to be bottled.